The Federal Government, which supplies nearly 70% of the funding for the Cherokee Nation, should step in an protect the decendents of Cherokee Slaves and not allow them to break a treaty and be rewarded with our money.
Here is a press release from The Cherokee Freedmen:
On October 11, 2011, in the middle of counting ballots in the Cherokee Principal chiefs election, the Cherokee tribal supreme court attempted to overturn an order in the case Vann versus Salazar signed by Federal judge Kennedy, as well as the US Department of Interior which insured participation by Cherokee freedmen citizens in the election for Principal Chief and continued citizenship of the freedmen unless otherwise ordered by the Federal Court. On October 11 2011 tribal Supreme Court struck the Federal order as being unenforceable as being binding on the Acting Principal Chief and not the tribe itself. The Tribal court also held Judge Kennedys order to be a violation of the tribal Supreme Court order filed August 22 2011 which removed citizenship from the freedmen.
Subsequently, tribal Attorney General Hammonds stated that the tribal court could not set aside orders by a federal judge and that Freedmen citizenship would continue under Federal court order approved on September 21 2011 in Cherokee Nation Vs Nash Federal case.
Marilyn Vann, a Cherokee freedmen citizen and President of the Descendants of Freedmen Association stated: “The freedmen people are tired of tribal leaders who play the race card and manipulate tribal elections to block freedmen participation in the Principal Chief election. Freedmen people have driven on their own funds from as far away as Dallas, Kansas City, and Nashville to exercise their rights to vote. I myself drove 160 miles each way to vote.
The tribe is subject to US law, just as individuals who don’t control hundreds of millions of casino dollars. It is a violation of the tribal constitution to not follow US laws. I believe that it is not a coincidence that the tribal court attempted to block the freedmen from voting this year just prior to absentee ballots being sent out and now in the middle of the count tries to stop our votes from being counted. Tribal court judges who don’t want to follow the law should resign from the bench. We remind the public that the tribal court judges were appointed by the former principal chief and may very well fear losing their positions if he is not reelected. Most of these same judges counted un-notarized ballots and refused to hear evidence of fraud in order to allow an anti freedmen petition to be placed on the ballot before tribal voters in 2007. We call upon the Department of Interior to not recognize the election of any principal chief who is elected without freedmen participation.
The US government must be willing to protect the 1866 treaty in Federal court in 2011 just as they did when the Seminole nation blocked freedmen citizens from voting several years ago in tribal elections. Assistant Interior Secretary Echo Hawk publicized his willingness to protect the 1866 treaty on September 9th.
Is this a nation where only poor freedmen widows and disabled veterans must follow the law and not those who control casino wealth? That remains to be seen.”